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Author | Blogger | Workshop Facilitator Visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novels, Gotta Let It Go and Gotta Get It Back, the sequel. Connect with me online @authordeelawrence (Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

5 Tips for Successfully Moderating a Panel Discussion

On Saturday, May 12, 2018 I participated as a moderator for the “Meet the Authors” panel discussion as part of the Festival of Literary Arts (FOLA) presented by the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council. This event took place at the MilkBoy ArtHouse, a performing arts space/restaurant in College Park, MD.

In preparing for this event, I kept the following 5 tips in mind for successfully moderating the panel discussion.

1.      Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. This means knowing who your panelists are by visiting their social media sites, websites, blog, etc. This allows you to shape your questions targeted specifically to them.

At FOLA, the “Meet the Authors” panel included Austin S. Camacho (thriller writer), Teri Ellen Cross Davis (poetry), Michelle Junot (poetry) and Jung Yun (fiction writer). After visiting their social media sites, I learned they wrote fiction and non-fiction. In doing so, I was able to craft questions geared toward their various works.

In addition, I sent them an email with the questions and outlined how the time would be allotted as well as making them aware that the discussion would include them reading excerpts from their works. In doing so, the panelists were able to prepare for a lively and informative discussion.  

2.      Engage the Audience. It’s very important to acknowledge and engage the audience early on so they are vested in the panel discussion. From the very beginning, I welcomed the audience and then made them aware of what to expect during the panel discussion and when they could ask questions.   

3.      Be flexible. This means going off script from the prepared questions if there is a particularly interesting or funny response to a question. There were a few moments when I went off script and asked the other panelists to chime in or expand on a comment another panelist made. 

4.      Master Facilitating the Discussion. The audience is there to learn about the authors and their works. So, it’s very important that the moderator take a back sat and solicit responses from the panelists related to their expertise and their experiences. During the panel discussion, I made sure to stay out of the way and not inject my opinions while facilitating a lively discussion.

5.      Get Photos/Video Clips. Remember to take lots of photos and videos and make them available for anyone to see.

I had a great time moderating this panel and enjoyed having conversations with the panelists even after the discussion ended.
Here are some photos from the event. Enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Interview with June “Joe” Boyd, author of A Spiritual Awakening

Author’s Bio: June “Joe” Boyd is from a small town in Indiana. Her grandfather called her Joe when she was really young and it stuck. Joe is 54 years old and has three children and three grandchildren. She has been writing since the age of 5 or 6 years old. She remembers always having a pen and paper in her hands but didn’t do anything with her writing until 5 years ago when someone told her to get her stuff published.
DL: What’s the inspiration for writing your book?
JB: I don't know what inspired me to start writing. I've been doing it for so long I couldn't tell you. 

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
JB: I read some of Edgar Allen Poe when I was younger. I think that might have inspired me but I'm sure there were other things that inspired me as well.

DL: How long did it take to write your book?
JB: I really don't know how long it took because I took some of my stories from when I was younger in with my recent ones. The Spiritual Awakening book has a series of all the ones written from then and today.

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
JB: I guess I just let it flow organically. It's really never planned.

DL: Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
JB: No, there is no music theme but I have to watch TV to write my books. I have to have quiet when I write music but I do have a cover theme for all my A Spiritual Awakening books. The covers will have footprints in the sand, footprints in the snow, footprints in the leaves and so on.

DL: What are the keys to success in marketing your book(s)?
JB: I guess the key to success is to never give up no matter what anyone says or does. Keep the faith and it'll happen. Go to book signings. Go to book readings. Get a FB account or LinkedIn account just for writers. 

DL:  What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
JB: Well, I guess I would tell them everything I just said about keeping the faith and never to give up. 

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from A Spiritual Awakening?
JB: One of my favorites is called True Love. 

                       True Love.....

In 1929 I waited .......

I wonder what you’re thinking

Do I ever cross your mind?

I thought you would always be there

True Love is hard to find........

DL: What’s next for you?
JB:  I'm trying real hard to get my music into ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) or SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers). 

DL: Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
JB: You can Google June "Joe" Boyd and see my book on about every website like Amazon
ebooks. https://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Awakening-Boyd-June-Joe/dp/1630634220/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&sn=email

DL: It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.
JB: Thank you for listening to my story and thank you for having me. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

5 Tips for a Successful Book Reading/Signing

On Thursday, May 10, 2018,I did a reading and book signing of my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go at the Enoch Pratt Free Library (Waverly Branch) as part of the Meet the Author Writers Live Series. I was super excited and couldn’t wait to introduce my characters to the audience.
In preparing for this event which was secured by my publicist, Cherrie Woods (www.eclecticpr.com), I kept the following 5 tips in mind for a successful book reading/signing.

1.      Advertise the Event. Once the date was secured with the library and flyers were finalized, I started my advertising campaign. I shared the flyer via my social media network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and via my e-newsletter to my readers.  I even boosted the Facebook post along with the event details. Within two days and even on the day of the event, I continued to advertise the event to garner more interest and thanking those who indicated they would attend.

This is so important because you want your event to be successful. So, it’s great when your friends and others show up to support you.  

2.      Practice. Practice. Practice. After selecting the excerpts (I selected 3 short excerpts but this depends on the time allotted) I was going to read, I started to practice. Yes, practice. Anyone can read the book but as a writer you have to engage your audience by selecting portions of the book that will appeal to your audience.

If you are afraid of public speaking, practice reading aloud in a voice recorder or in front of family and friends. I’m pretty comfortable with public speaking but I still practiced reading in front of a mirror.

3.      Show up. If you are committed to the event you must show up. Even if you have an audience of one or many you must perform and give your best reading. Have fun when you do and be your authentic self. My audience consisted of friends from the Black Writers' Guild (Denise Cuffie, Gilbert Richards,  and Odessa Rose), poets/book lovers (Brenda Bunting and Diane Wilbon Parks), and some new readers including folks from the library. 

4.      Be flexible and prepare for anything. I was packed and allowed myself enough time but things still went a little awry. For starters, it was a raining, traffic was a mess and my GPS decided to go haywire on me. I had to pull over at least twice, reboot my phone, call the PR assistant (who was awesome) to guide me in. When I finally parked and got settled in, the library manager informed me that the location may not be a safe place to park. At that precise moment, I saw a police officer approaching my car and I had to run out and talk myself out of a ticket – whew! That was really close. The bottom line is that you simply have to be flexible and make adjustments because the show must go on. 

5.      Get Photos/Video Clips. Your live book reading should be available for anyone to see. So take lots of photos and videos to share to prove the event did happen.

Overall, I had a great time. I sold some books, made a few new friends and garnered some new 

Here are some photos and links you can check out from the event. Enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Interview with Janice N. Adams, author of A Heart’s Journey, A Twisted State of Mind, About My Father’s Business, and About My Father’s Footsteps (Coming Soon - Deep Waters: A Heart’s Journey Part Two)

Author’s Bio: A Virginia native, Janice N. Adams is a published author who uplifts the human spirit through fiction and non-fiction literary works. In 2008, she wrote and published the novel, A Heart’s Journey, and two books of inspiration, About My Father’s Business, and About My Father’s Footsteps. Her novella, A Twisted State of Mind, is published in Another Time Another Place, by New York Times bestselling author, Zane. Janice contributed to editing the Show-Bible for Black Rose that won the Best Drama Actress Award at the 2015 New York Television Festival. She’s a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (aka Virginia Tech) with a B.S. degree in Sociology. She enjoys photography, interior design, sports, music, and movies; and is the proud mother of two sons.

DL: What’s the inspiration for writing your books?
JA: To empower women (and men) as we journey through the complexities and beauty of relationships within our inner most circle of family, friends, lovers, and co-workers. To position people to persevere with strength and passion.

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
JA: After journaling for several years, Terry McMillan’s book, Waiting to Exhale was the turning point for me when I started to believed that “I can do this.” I wanted to see a book with my name on it in the books stores. In 2008, that dream came true with my novella, “A Twisted State of Mind” published in Zane’s Anthology, Another Time Another Place.

DL: How long did it take to write your books?
JA: It took me about 3 – 4 years to write the first four books, collectively. It has taken me 8 years for my current project, Deep Waters. As my mom and grandmothers would say, “God willing and the creek don’t rise,” I plan to complete Deep Waters in 2018.

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
JA: I start with an outline first to have a sense of the plot, characters, setting, etc. Then the story flows organically, growing and morphing along the way as the characters become alive on paper.

DL:  Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
JA: Yes, I listen to music when initially composing the story. However, I do not listen to music when editing. My attention to detail is a bit different when editing; I focus better without music when I’m editing. As for theme songs, I like the following for my novels:

a.       A Heart’s Journey (Mariah Carey - “I Don’t Want to Cry”)

b.      Deep Waters (Johnny Gill/New Edition - “This One’s for Me and You”, or Mariah Carey’s “Anytime You Need A Friend”)

DL: What are the keys to success in marketing your books?
JA: Visibility and Word of Mouth: Social Media, Website, Book Festivals/Special Events – I like book festivals and special events the most because I enjoy engaging and interacting with people/customers.

DL: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
JA: Learn the business as well as your craft. Keep writing and reading, know your genre, discover your style, and know when to stop editing. There will always be something you want to change.

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from “Deep Waters”?
JA: Sure. This scene occurs in Northern Virginia at a Christmas dinner party among the main characters.

Copyright@2018 by Janice N. Adams

Chris approached the townhouse, eyeing his beloved Cierra the entire way. He desperately wanted to embrace her. Cierra and Paul descended the brightly lit steps adorned with Christmas lights. As they passed Chris, Paul observed him trying to touch Cierra’s hand. He tensed, then quickly extended his hand to greet Chris, causing him to cease his obvious intention.

“What’s up? Chris, right? I’m Paul,” he stated in a matter of fact way.

Humph - This clown must be trippin’. What the hell has Cierra told him about me? Chris wondered. He ignored Paul’s gesture and continued to look at Cierra. He walked slowly past her and whispered in her ear, “What are you doing? You know where your heart belongs.”

Cierra pretended not to hear him and held onto Paul’s arm as they kept walking to Paul’s car.

Chris lingered at the front door as Rachel hung up his coat and Damien greeted him.

As Paul drove past the townhouse, Cierra and Chris’ eyes met, seconds before Rachel closed the door. Cierra thought about seeing his bracelet in Rachel’s jewelry drawer.

“Ci, are you OK?” Paul asked, concerned where her thoughts had taken her.

“Yes, I’m just tired.”

“It’s been quite the evening,” Paul admitted.

“Yes, it has,” she agreed.

As Paul drove, Cierra stared at the starry sky and prayed.

Lord, please reveal the truth to me. Something feels weird about all this, and I’m not even sure what ‘this’ is, but something is not quite right. Amen.

DL: What’s next for you?
JA: Create a book trailer, complete and publish Deep Waters.

DL: Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?

·         Website: www.janicenadams.com

·         Amazon Author Page: Janice N. Adams

o   “A Heart’s Journey: To Quench a Thirsty Soul” by Janice N. Adams

o   “About My Father’s Business” by Janice N. Adams

o   About My Father’s Footsteps” by Janice N. Adams

o   “Another Time Another Place” by Zane

·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janicenadams.author/

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.